Negotiated cash fed cattle trade through Friday afternoon was steady on a live basis in the Southern Plains and Nebraska at $124/cwt., but $1 lower in the western Corn Belt at $123-$125. Dressed sales were steady to $2 lower at $198-$200.
Cattle futures closed mixed on Friday, but with a firmer feel in Live Cattle as traders positioned ahead of the three-day weekend.
Other than unchanged and 5¢ lower in the back three contracts, Live Cattle futures close an average of 33¢ higher.
Other than 17¢ and 7¢ higher in two nearby contracts, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 43¢ lower amid light trade.
Wholesale beef values were higher on moderate to good demand and moderate offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.27 higher Friday afternoon at $214.17/cwt. Select was $1.28 higher at $212.75.
Corn futures closed 12¢ to 13¢ higher in the front three contracts and then mostly 5¢ to 8¢ higher, basically recovering what was lost in the previous session.
Soybean futures closed 2¢ to 5¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Friday, amid positive quarterly corporate earnings and economic news that included a surge in housing starts.
Privately-owned housing starts in December were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,608,000, which was 16.9% more than the revised November estimate, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 50 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 12 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 31 points.
“Wholesale beef prices are below year-ago levels, but packers continue to pay slightly higher prices than a year ago to bid cattle out of the feedlots, despite weaker margins,” says analysts with USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), in the monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook, describing factors for updated first-quarter price forecasts.
“This strength was carried into first-quarter 2020, and that price forecast was raised by $3 to $125/cwt. (fed steer). However, larger numbers of cattle are expected to be available for marketing during the second quarter, which is expected to moderate prices. The 2020 average price for fed steers is forecast at $117.50.”
ERS also increased expectations for first-quarter feeder steer prices (750-800 lbs., basis Oklahoma City).
“Based on recent price data and fewer expected cattle overwintering on pasture, the price forecast for first-quarter 2020 feeder steers was raised by $4 to $144/cwt. The second-quarter 2020 price forecast was raised $2 to $144.00. The fourth-quarter 2020 price forecast was raised by $1 to $145 on expected feedlot demand. The 2020 annual price forecast for feeder steers was raised by $2 to $145.”